What Falls from the Sky [book review]

A girl gives up the internet--completely and cold turkey--for an entire year. In the process, she rediscovers her faith and finds a new way to live. That's the premise of this book, and I have to admit that I went in with one eye on the text and the other on my own issues with the internet. I chose this book hoping it would be as much self-help as memoir.

What falls from the Sky by Esther Emery

The language Esther Emery uses to share her experience is poetic without being too ambiguous or hard to follow, which is a problem I think a lot of writers trying to adopt this lyrical style have. Her writing is lovely to read, and I found myself immediately drawn in. And her issues--self-obsession, addiction to social media and blogging and her own self-importance--are, I think, more than relatable for a lot of us, if we're willing to be honest. I found myself nodding and underlining a lot of Emery's words because they echoed my own feelings. More than once at the start of the book, I thought to myself, "I am this woman." I connected with her right away, and those initial sparks carried me through the rest of the book.

There are some issues, though. For one, some of the problems Emery comes up against never seem to get resolved. It's a memoir, and I suppose that's often how life is, but as a reader I wanted there to be a stronger connecting thread to hold on to. Sometimes it was the poetic style--the conclusion or lesson got lost in prose that wasn't clear enough--and sometimes it just wasn't there.

I also had a hard time, particularly in the first half or so of the book, following the order of events. Emery jumped around a bit, and I got lost a few times. Some of the sequencing eventually came clear, but I'm not 100 percent sure I understood it all perfectly.

But the truth is, none of the problems I felt existed were enough to make me dislike the book. Maybe it was how strongly I identified with her struggle, or her poetic writing, or some other intangible thing that held me so tightly--I'm not sure I can pinpoint it. It may have just been that I found the book at the right time. Whatever it was, it grabbed me emotionally. I actually cried a few times while reading about some of the things that happened in Emery's year without the internet (though none of it was really all that tragic). And when it was over, I was disappointed that the journey had to end. I would say that's a sign of a good read, wouldn't you?

P.S. I received a copy of this book for review purposes. But I wasn't required the write anything positive about it--all thoughts and opinions are my own.

1 comment :

  1. Hmmm, that premise does sound interesting. I haven't heard of the book but I have to admit that I'm intrigued by that experiment.